205 Live’s been on a roll.
Admittedly, it’s not the show many fans wanted or expected for the talent assembled on its roster, coming out of the competition-first Cruiserweight Classic tournament series. 205 Live is very much sports entertainment. The last month or so worth of strong shows have been built around guest stars, heel turns, a running comedy bit and a lot of talking.
And, amazingly enough... Enzo Amore.
More than John Cena or Roman Reigns, Zo might be the poster boy for WWE’s trend toward “here’s a character, love ‘em or hate ‘em” storytelling. And by acknowledging (some would argue encouraging) rumors of backstage heat, they’ve added more layers to the guy with swagger to spare and a sing-along entrance spiel who cheats to win as an underdog then brags about the money he’s gonna spend partying with famous people.
Shooting him to the top of the division and setting him opposite dominant champion Neville has generated a lot of conversation, but it hadn’t delivered a standout television segment.
Until last night.
On the Sept. 19 episode of 205 Live, Neville and Amore got the closing portion of the show to sell their title match at this weekend’s No Mercy event.
And, boy, did they ever.
A portion of the segment is above, and I’ve transcribed their full exchange from WWE Network below. I highly encourage you to check it out, because both men’s delivery and non-verbal performance is as stellar as the words.
Neville: Ladies and Gentlemen, we are just five short days away from one of the biggest pay-per-view extravaganzas of the year. WWE No Mercy. That’s right. This Sunday, LIVE on the WWE Network you lucky, lucky people will get to see mammoth clashes as Braun Strowman collides with the Beast, Brock Lesnar, and John Cena dukes it out one-on-one with The Big Dog, Roman Reigns.
But better than all of that will be a comedic performance as little Enzo Amore challenges the conquering King of the Cruiserweights in what can only be described as the most ridicloous decision of his pathetic little life. Now don’t get me wrong. I will take pleasure in exposing Enzo Amore for what he really is - a stain on the moral fabric of society. But more importantly, someone who is grossly underqualified to step into my world.
Enzo: My name is Enzo Amore, and I am a certified G and a bona fide stud and you can’t teach that. Badda boom, realest guy in the room - how you doin?
Neville: Ah-ha-hey... isn’t this just classic Enzo Amore? Last night, lad, you got obliterated by the Monster. If I were you, I’d be staying at home resting and recuperating. But here you are - dancing like a chicken! And spouting your hilarious catchphrases - how you doin?
Enzo: How you doing, huh? See, normally, I would ask you that question, right? But I don’t need to ask you that question because I already know the answer to it. You’re jealous.
And I must be the peanut butter for that jelly, kid, cause you’ve been jellying me ever since I made 205 Live the realest show in the room.
Neville: [Laughs] Me? Jealous of you? Look at me Enzo, then look at yourself. I am the most formidible cruiserweight on the face of the Earth. How could I possibly be jealous of you when I am better in every way that is conceivable?
Enzo: You see, there’s some truth to that statement as well. I am not the in-ring performer you are, I’m not the wrestler you are. But that, people, is precisely why you are jealous! You want to hate on Enzo? Hatin’ on me, bro? Let me tell you something, alright, hate ain’t nothing but love disguised by jealousy. And if I were you, I’d be jealous of me, too, because no matter what the win and loss record says, I am twice the Superstar that you will ever be. I am putting the Superstar in WWE Superstar, dog, I’m taking meteor showers. I’m in commercials, okay? I got a Snickers bar. I got my own emoji, bro. And you ain’t selling no merch, you ain’t getting invited to Miz TV and you ain’t hanging out with Drake and The Weeknd on the weekend.
Now let me just say this, okay? I know it’s been brought to light lately that the locker room and I don’t get along. Alright, but you know what, Neville? When I come out and they play my song, the people sing along, cause they and you ain’t on what I’m on, I’m never off, I’m always on on this microphone, I’m Ichicban - numero freakin’ uno!
You can hate me. You can love me. But either way, you know who I am. I’m a certified G and a bona fide stud, hydrated off this haterade and showered in this love and it EATS. YOU. UP. It eats you up cause I got a mouth on me and I think you know, I got three rows of teeth. Cause the way I see it is you’ve been a big fish in a small pond and I’m looking at the envy in your eyes just like I saw it the first time I ever stepped foot on 205 Live. Because I think you realized right then there at that moment - A SHARK HAD INVADED YOUR WATER!
Neville: You had to go and run your mouth. Didn’t ya? You see Enzo, I wanted to make this quick. But now? I’m going to make an example out of you. TREAT ME LIKE A GAME, AND I’LL SHOW YOU HOW IT’S PLAYED!
Look at me, Enzo... LOOK AT ME! Do you honestly, genuinely believe for one second that I care about merchandise sales? That I care about celebrity relationships? Enzo, do you think that I care about being a Superstar!?!? Nah. None of that stuff matters. Come Sunday, none of that matters. Because you, lad? You can’t fight.
And me, Enzo? I am BRUTAL. So what exactly are you going to do when I brutalize you to the point where you know there’s no hope? Whatcha gonna do, Enzo? Are you gonna kick me in the crown jewels? Perhaps you’ll coax me into grabbing a microphone and getting myself disqualified like you did to The Miz? Either way, those tactics are not going to win my championship.
The best you can hope for at No Mercy is survival.
Enzo: You know what? You’re right. Those tactics are not gonna win me a championship. But it ain’t Sunday, and this ain’t No Mercy.
[Kicks Neville in the crown jewels] How you doin? [Drops mic]
"This won't fly at #WWENoMercy, but tonight's not #WWENoMercy." @real1 makes one FINAL statement before this Sunday. @WWENeville #205Live pic.twitter.com/pipWVceEY6— WWE (@WWE) September 20, 2017
Just as Zo is a different take on a character we’re seeing more of from the ‘E, this promo is of a piece with the Reigns/Cena worked shoots we’ve gotten in the build to No Mercy. This works better for me for a couple reasons, however.
For one thing, we haven’t seen either of these men deliver or receive these same arguments with past opponents. And for another, they’ve actually convinced me the outcome of their bout Sunday matters in terms of who’s the better performer, or at least who’s a performer the company values more.
Since this was first mentioned as a potential money feud (thanks, Jericho!), most figured Enzo would handle mic work and it would be on Neville to carry the matches. The latter part may still be true - we’ll find out on Sunday - but the Smacktalker Skywalker’s found he has an able partner in wordplay with The King. While I’ve always been a fan of the rare glimpses we’ve gotten of Amore in serious mode, and this is no exception, Neville is the one who lands the big shots here.
“Because you, lad? You can’t fight,” is a kidney punch finish.
I could talk about this segment forever. It’s honestly one of my favorite ‘go home’ sell jobs in a long time.
For now, I’ll just watch it again, and hope Enzo proves to be as game in the match as Neville’s shown he can be on the stick.
And wonder where both of these characters go from either outcome at No Mercy.